Monday, April 17, 2006

Day One, Genesis 1-15

DanaMarie wrote below:

First, struck by how Moses can't write! Reminds me of a terrible Danielle Steele book I was stuck reading - it was so horribly written and repetitive I wanted to throw it across the room. Moses needed an editor!

Well, I wouldn't blame it all on Moses! I believe most scholars today would tell us the "Books of Moses" were actually written by about four different authors, then edited together by one redactor. This explains certain repetitions and contradictions. The redactor made a choice to give the reader as *much* as possible, it seems, and that results in both confusion and riches. Think about the family stories you’ve heard that are told slightly differently by Grandma and Uncle Joe and Cousin Hattie. There’s truth in all their versions, but what is ultimate truth?

The images of nakedness struck me as well. Nakedness without shame means living in vulnerability and openness, to God and to one another. The “knowledge” gained by eating of the tree brings shame about our natural state that is still with us. Interesting that learning to be ashamed brings about punishment.

I like to read these stories trying to get inside what the authors wanted us to know about the human condition and their understanding of our relationship to the divine, by whatever name they called the Creator. These early stories about God/YHWH/Elohim sound much like stories of other gods in the same era – walking and talking with humans, not knowing everything, getting fed up with humans, fearing that humans will become like gods. Poweful, yes, but all-powerful? It’s such a contrast with Genesis 1 and the God who breaks forth all matter from chaos into forms that support life.

I'm reading from the NRSV given to my son when he was confirmed, mostly because it's light enough to hold in bed, unlike my gigantic HarperCollins Study Bible. I'm kind of wishing for the large print, however, and may go and look for the TNIV later in the week.

On to Chapter 16! (More passing off of wife as sister! What was that guy thinking?)

1 comment:

DanaMarie11 said...

Thanks for the comment about the several different authors. I shouldn't lump poor Moses in the same category as Danielle Steele! I ordered the TNIV Bible - I'm excited to get it soon.